All Modern Warfare 2 Game Modes Explained

This guide explains everything you need to know about game modes in Modern Warfare 2!

by Matthew Kevin Mitchell

Activision has added progression systems to most of the available game modes and mechanics of Modern Warfare 2. The easiest way to progress these systems is by playing all available game modes. All players who pre-ordered the game gained access to the single-player campaign. Now that the game has officially launched, you can play all your favorite multiplayer modes. I will explain which modes are available at launch and how they work so you won’t be lost while playing. So pick your favorite Operator, and let’s get playing!

All Modern Warfare 2 Game Modes Explained

The official launch of Modern Warfare 2 has brought us Season 0. While the Prestige and Battle Pass won’t be released until November 16th with Call of Duty: Warzone 2, there will still be many systems you can level up by playing through every game mode.

Here are all available game modes at launch:

  • Control
  • Domination
  • Free-for-all
  • Ground War
  • Ground War Invasion
  • Hardpoint
  • Headquarters
  • Knock Out
  • Prisoner Rescue
  • Search and Destroy
  • Single-player Campaign
  • Spec Ops
  • Team Deathmatch
  • Kill Confirmed

Normal Modes

These modes are what I consider to be Normal Modes or non-multiplayer modes.

Single-player Campaign

The Modern Warfare 2 campaign has 17 missions, which take about 11 hours to beat. In addition, you can unlock new Operators, like Hutch, for use in multiplayer modes.

Spec Ops

You can play Spec Ops after beating the campaign. This mode requires that you play with a teammate to complete fun missions that will challenge your duo team. In addition, you can progress the Spec Ops progression system to unlock additional rewards.

Related: How to play hardcore in Modern Warfare 2 on Dot Esports


Multiplayer Modes

Multiplayer modes are broken into two categories: Core Maps (6v6) and Battle Maps (32v32).

Core Maps (6v6)

The majority of the multiplayer maps will be under the Core Maps category.


Two teams take turns controlling objectives by either attacking or defending them. The Attacking team wins a round if they grab both objectives. The Defending team wins a round if they still control an objective when time runs out. Both teams have 30 lives and can win a round if they clear through the other team’s lives. The first team to win three rounds wins the match.


Two teams battle to control three different objective points marked as A, B, and C. Your team will earn points once they capture and hold a point. The first team to reach 200 points wins the game. There is no time limit in this mode.


There are no teams in the free-for-all game mode, so everyone is against everyone. The match will end once an Operator reaches 30 kills. After that, the top three players will claim victory in the match.


The goal is to capture and hold an objective point to earn points. The objective rotates every minute, with the following location marked 10 seconds before the current point expires. The first team to reach 250 points wins the match.


Teams work to capture and defend a zone marked as the Headquarters. The defending team has its respawns disabled. New zones will be designated once the current Headquarters is taken offline. The first team to reach 200 points wins the match.

Knock Out

Both teams attempt to get the bag of cash located in the middle of the map. The team that either holds the bag at the end of the round or eliminates the other teams wins the round. The first team to win five rounds wins the match.

Prisoner Rescue

One team is the attacking team, and the other is the defending team. The attacking team’s goal is to find hostages and extract them from the opposing team’s control. The defending team’s goal is to keep the hostages in the spawn areas. Each hostage is worth 100 points for the attackers. Each hostage kept in the spawn area is worth 50 points when the round timer expires. The first team to 500 points wins the match. There are no respawns enabled, but you can revive your team.

Search and Destroy

Search and Destroy requires the attacking team to plant and detonate a bomb at specific objective points. The defending team must either eliminate the attacking team or defuse the bomb before it detonates. The first team with six round victories wins the match.

Team Deathmatch

Team Deathmatch is one of the most popular multiplayer modes in Call of Duty games. Two teams with six players eliminate each other to earn points. The team who reaches 75 points first or the team with the highest kill count when the timer ends wins the match.

Kill Confirmed

In Kill Confirmed, you must eliminate an enemy and collect their dog tag to earn points for your team. You can also collect your teammates’ dog tags from denying the enemy team from earning points.


Battle Maps (32v32)

Battle Maps will be the large-scale multiplayer mode. There are only two modes in this category at launch.

Ground War

Ground War is like domination except on a bigger scale. Teams consist of 32 players to hold objectives and score points. The first team to reach 250 points wins the match.

Ground War Invasion

Invasion is a 20v20 elimination mode. You will be sent out on a 4-player squad and asked to eliminate the opposing team consisting of both AI and real players. The first team to reach 2000 points wins the match.

Ways to Play Game Modes

There are a few ways you can play multiplayer matches based on your preferences:

  • Featured: Play featured multiplayer game modes through playlists focusing on new maps and modes. In addition, variations of standard modes and maps can happen.
  • Quick Play: Create a personalized playlist so you can quickly jump into the multiplayer game modes of your choice.
  • Tier 1: Play game modes with less health, limited HUD, and friendly fire for that extra challenge.
  • Third-Person Mode: Play game modes using a third-person perspective instead of the traditional first-person.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

- This article was updated on February 1st, 2023